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Your Environment. Your Health.

Coronavirus Updates from NIEHS

COVID-19 Pandemic Vulnerability Index (PVI)

NIEHS works other federal agencies and research partners to learn more about SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and assists with the pandemic response. Here is a collection of news articles and other materials to keep you informed about NIEHS activities and discoveries.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Answers for Concerns & Questions - Dr. Darryl Zeldin NIH/NIEHS Scientific Director – February 1, 2021

Environmental Factor Articles

July 2022

Antiviral membranes boost masks’ ability to stop COVID – July 2022

Funded by NIEHS and the National Science Foundation, the new membranes capture and deactivate SARS-CoV-2 on contact, preventing the spread of COVID-19.

June 2022

Understanding RNA structure could reveal how viruses interact in cells – June 2022

New methods for studying viruses and how they function were described by Eric Miska, Ph.D., during his May 10 NIEHS Distinguished Lecture.

Researchers identify risk factors for disease flares after COVID-19 vaccination – June 2022

Flares are infrequently reported after COVID-19 vaccination in patients with systemic rheumatic disease (SRD), according to NIEHS researchers and their collaborators.

Webinar explores sailors’ mental health during COVID, how pollutants can affect the microbiome – June 2022

Event showcased work of early-career scientists affiliated with NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers.

May 2022

Empowering women, improving health: NIEHS conference a resounding success – May 2022

Annual Women’s Health Awareness event addressed environmental health disparities and promoted health access, resiliency.

Scientific moonshot: Now is the time to sequence RNA, expert says – May 2022

Vivian Cheung, M.D., spoke with me about how such an undertaking will expand knowledge of disease and advance therapeutics.

NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2022: Toward improved asthma care – May 2022

On May 3, the National Institutes of Health reaffirmed its commitment to research aimed at understanding, preventing, and treating asthma.

Earth Day events highlight planning ahead for environmental health – May 2022

Aubrey Miller receives award at University of Kentucky Earth Day event; Environmental Awareness and Advisory Committee hosts two seminars.

April 2022

Falk Memorial Lecture focuses on how inflammation ends – April 2022

Charles Serhan described the biological mechanisms that are key to stopping runaway inflammation, which is linked to many diseases.

Language justice boosts worker safety, empowers people, experts say – April 2022

The NIEHS Worker Training Program has adopted a multilingual approach to advance communities’ environmental, occupational health.

2022 NIEHS Spirit Lecture honoree recognized for diversity efforts – April 2022

Marie A. Bernard, M.D., discussed the science behind scientific workforce diversity during her March 2 virtual lecture.

March 2022

Educational tool highlights COVID-19 and arsenic research – March 2022

NIEHS-funded researchers teamed up with high school teachers to create a digital resource that encourages students to think like scientists.

Purifying SARS-CoV-2 proteins may produce targeted therapies – March 2022

NIEHS researchers have developed a simple protocol to produce pure and high quantities of two proteins required for the replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

January 2022

2021 Papers of the Year – January 2022

Of 3,942 publications by NIEHS researchers and grantees in 2021, institute leaders selected 35 as Papers of the Year.

Hazards of Disaster Cleanup, Support for Workers Focus of NIEHS Talk – January 2022

A consortium funded by the institute’s Worker Training Program helps crews stay safe in the aftermath of climate-related emergencies.

Wastewater-based Epidemiology Comes of Age During Pandemic – January 2022

Wastewater sampling provides noninvasive, cost-effective tool for tracking disease prevalence and spread, say experts at NIEHS event.

November 2021

Artist Uses Tribal Symbolism, Traditions to Communicate Science – November 2021

Artist Mallery Quetawki and NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) scientists are turning complex environmental health concepts into meaningful images for Native American communities.

Outstanding Achievement, Effort by NIEHS Staff Honored During Ceremony – November 2021

Scientific accomplishments, staff dedication, and perseverance during COVID-19 pandemic celebrated at institute’s annual event.

October 2021

Coping With Grief and Loss During COVID-19 Focus of Webinar – October 2021

The NIEHS Women’s Health Awareness program hosted the September 9 event, which featured insights from grief expert Alesia Alexander.

SARS-CoV-2 Nonstructural Proteins a Target for Antiviral Measures – October 2021

NIEHS scientists determined that the SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein 15 (Nsp15) relies on recognition of the nucleoside uridine to cleave viral RNA and evade detection by the host immune system.

Whole Person Health, COVID-19 Research Hot Topics at Council Meeting – October 2021

Whole person health, innovative COVID-19 research, and efforts to enhance diversity both in study populations and the scientific workforce were some of the topics discussed during the September 13 meeting of the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC).

Wildfire Smoke Linked to Increase in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths – October 2021

Thousands of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the western U.S. may be attributable to increases in fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) from wildfires, according to NIEHS-funded research.

July 2021

New Insights Into How COVID-19 May Damage the Heart – July 2021

A new study by NIEHS-funded researchers provides insight into how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, damages heart cells. The findings may inform treatment strategies to protect heart health in COVID-19 patients.

Environment Plays Underappreciated Role in Infectious Diseases – July 2021

National Academies workshop explored how emerging scientific tools could help to inform crises beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 2021

NIH Disaster Research Response Program Launches New Website – June 2021

NIEHS is providing a new home for the Disaster Research Response (DR2) program and its vast collection of web-based resources needed for scientists to conduct vital and timely public health research in the aftermath of disasters.

Sharon Beard Recognized by American Industrial Hygiene Association – June 2021

Sharon Beard, Acting Chief of the NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) has received the 2021 Rachel Carson Award from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

New Marker of COVID-19 Severity Points to Potential Therapies – June 2021

Certain fatty acids in the blood of COVID-19 patients may predict the severity of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and offer a target for treatment, according to a new NIEHS-funded study.

May 2021

New NIH Funding Advances COVID-19 Testing – May 2021

Four new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), issued April 13, will move a program called RADx(SM) Underserved Populations (RADx[SM]-UP) rapidly into its next phase.

COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery for Workers, Communities – May 2021

In April, NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) awardees began work on COVID-19 recovery centers to promote health, safety, and recovery training for essential workers and their communities.

Scholars Find New Ways to Research Amidst a Global Pandemic – May 2021

Members of the 2020-2021 NIEHS Scholars Connect Program (NSCP) presented their research at the April 16 Spring Symposium.

Biomarker Suggests Severity of COVID-19 Respiratory Distress – May 2021

In a study funded in part by NIEHS, researchers reported April 1 that certain fatty acids in the blood of COVID-19 patients may predict the severity of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

NIEHS Earns WELL Building Rating, First Among Feds – May 2021

On March 30, NIEHS became the first U.S. federal agency to achieve the International WELL Building Institute’s (IWBI) Health-Safety Rating.

April 2021

Freezer donations add COVID-19 vaccine storage capacity in North Carolina – April 1, 2021

On March 16, NIEHS shipped 11 ultracold laboratory-grade freezers to the North Carolina (NC) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), thanks to a grassroots project from within the institute's Office of Management.

March 2021

Organs-on-a-chip for COVID-19 Research Group Led by NTP Center – March 1, 2021

Federal agencies collaborate on microphysiological systems to accelerate development of new treatments.

Fighting Misinformation, Preventing Workplace COVID-19 Exposure – March 1, 2021

The NIEHS Worker Training Program’s monthly COVID-19−focused webinars aim to protect workers who may be at risk of exposure.

A Tool for Visualizing County-level COVID-19 Risk Factors – March 1, 2021

The COVID-19 Pandemic Vulnerability Index (PVI) Dashboard, created by NIEHS researchers and collaborators at North Carolina State University and Texas A & M University, addresses knowledge gaps in pandemic risk at the county level.

February 2021

January 2021

Global Health in the COVID-19 Era Explored at Local Conference – January 1, 2021

Health system preparedness, equity of access, culture, and misinformation challenges dominate discussions.

COVID-19 Impacts on Children With Special Needs, Their Families – January 1, 2021

Diversity Speaker Series features NIEHS parents sharing how young people with disabilities and their families are dealing with the crisis.

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

May 2020

April 2020

Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers

Wastewater-based Epidemiology Comes of Age During Pandemic – January 1, 2022

Environmental Health Sciences Core Center researchers stood out at a December 2021 webinar focused on wastewater-based epidemiology.

Wastewater and COVID-19 – July 13, 2021

As COVID-19 spreads, multiple NIEHS-supported researchers have been tracking and mitigating infections using wastewater-based epidemiology. NIEHS-funded researchers are using this methodology to trace and reduce COVID-19 exposures on campuses, nursing homes, and rural areas.

Global Environmental Health

COVID-19 Recovery Plans Should Put Children First, Experts Say – August 1, 2020

A new commentary from the World Health Organization (WHO)-UNICEF-Lancet Commission highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on children and calls for putting children at the center of recovery plans.

Join a Study

Vaccine Confidence: A Call to Action to Create Change in Communities of Color – July 1, 2021

If you are a Black/African American woman or man aged 18 and older and living in North Carolina, we want to hear from you. Please join an important study on community concerns and/or acceptance and beliefs about vaccines and immunizations.

Lesson Plans

COVID-19 PVI Lessons Plans – October 6, 2020

Examining Risk Factors Associated With COVID-19 Using the Pandemic Vulnerability Index.

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health

New Story Map Shows COVID-19 Disparities Along Racial and Ethnic Lines – September 1, 2020

A new interactive story map developed by NIEHS-funded researchers sheds light on how certain Los Angeles communities are faring in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Press Releases

NIEHS Earns WELL Building Rating Amid Pandemic – April 12, 2021

On March 30, 2021, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) became the first federal agency to achieve the International WELL Building Institute’s Health-Safety Rating.

Workplace Chemical Exposure Study Leads to Small Business COVID-19 Awareness Campaign – February 16, 2021

Small business owners can take advantage of one-on-one training in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, thanks to a project led by researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences in collaboration with the Sonora Environmental Resources Institute (SERI) and El Rio Health.

NIH to Support Radical Approaches to Nationwide COVID-19 Testing and Surveillance – December 21, 2020

RADx-rad program will fund non-traditional and repurposed technologies to combat the current pandemic and address future viral disease outbreaks.

COVID-19 Workers Get Training to Protect Their Own Health – March 23, 2020

NIEHS Worker Training Program is creating a COVID-19 virtual safety training initiative for frontline responders including emergency medical personnel, firefighters, law enforcement officers, environmental cleanup workers, high-risk custodial service workers, food processing and delivery workers, water and sewage treatment workers, sanitation workers, and health care facility employees.

Research Ethics Timeline


During the COVID-19 pandemic, which killed millions of people around the world, scientists worked feverishly to conduct research that could help combat this public health crisis. To make data and results available as quickly as possible, many journals expedited their peer review process for COVID-19 submissions and scientists published articles on pre-print servers before undergoing peer review.

Superfund Research Program

Special COVID-19 Supplements and Activities – December 9, 2020

In response to the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, SRP provided supplemental funding to Centers to expand upon the foundation established under their existing SRP grants to meet immediate needs to address the public health crisis.

Superfund Research Program Science Digest

Director's Letter – June 1, 2020

The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created uncertainty and strained our communities, businesses, and workplaces.

Womens's Health Awareness

Know the Facts: COVID-19 Vaccines

If you are a Black/African American woman or man aged 18 and older and living in North Carolina, we want to hear from you. Please join an important study on community concerns and/or acceptance and beliefs about vaccines and immunizations.

Worker Training Program


The Material Upload and Search Tool for Infectious Disease (MUSTID) is a searchable portal that provides easy access to resources on infectious disease and worker safety shared by and relevant to WTP and others interested in worker safety and health. It is now available to the general public.


COVID-19, Social Vulnerability, and Environmental Injustice – March 2, 2021

Addressing COVID Challenges With Community Partners – February 25, 2021

Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 Response – February 4, 2021

Routes of Transmission and Exposure Mitigation – January 13, 2021

Communication Concepts to Managing Perceptions, Stigma and Stress Mental Health and Emotional Resiliency for Workers and Communities – March 17, 2020

Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak – March 17, 2020

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